Red velvet crackle cookies

"Operation: Make/Eat Christmas Cookies" is in full swing!  Basically, I make it a leisurely monthlong process at my house.  I make cookies, we eat cookies, and we repeat this simple process.  I know some people make Christmas cookies in one frenzied swoop right before the big day and I love this idea of turning my house into a cookie factory for a day with a massive output but I never could figure out how to make that work.  Stretching it out, generally enjoying it a batch at a time, works for us and that's what we do throughout late November and December.  
So in the spirit of making and eating cookies during the holiday season, here's my latest contribution.  No surprise "crackle" (or "crinkle") cookies make an appearance because they usually do.  Their snow-topped appearance makes them perfect for the winter and holiday time.  I've made a few versions and I'm always looking for another to try during this time of year.  When I saw this recipe for red velvet crackle cookies, I knew I'd found the one for this holiday season.
I saw the recipe in this lovely Holiday Cookies book.  Naturally, I liked the red velvet aspect - the color fitting for the holiday season.  I also liked that the recipe had not only cocoa in it but also melted chocolate.  And brown, rather than granulated, sugar suggested a nice soft, moist texture that appeals to us.  Sure enough, these red velvet crackles were very chocolaty and moist.  They are chocolate crackle cookies dressed in red for the holidays!


Without fail, I always comment that crackle/crinkle cookies start out looking like truffles on a baking sheet.  I love these red velvet ones; while I try to use food coloring sparingly, it's easy to see why red velvet took off.  
It's my personal habit to first roll the crackle cookie dough first in granulated sugar, then confectioners' sugar.  I read long ago that was the way to go for the crackly top and to help the confectioners' sugar hold. 

Once generously rolled, I followed the recipe instructions and gently pressed down on the cookie dough balls to slightly flatten them.  Looking back, I think I should have tried baking at least some of them without doing that because I don't mind a rounder, puffier crackle cookie.  Also, I figure not touching the rolled dough and, therefore, not messing with the confectioners' sugar topping, could make for a more pristine baked result.  
I couldn't wait to try these and when I got to, I was happy they were as chocolaty and moist as I expected.  The exterior has a bit of a crunchy crust thanks to the sugar and the cookie itself has a nice little chewy texture that we always welcome.   
I was thinking...you could omit the red food coloring in this recipe and turn out a great batch of chocolate crackles.  For the holidays, though, I think it's fun to "trick out" your cookies and make things you might not normally make.  
Happy holiday baking and cookie-eating!  It's not only about cookies...I'm off to bake up a chocolate gingerbread loaf cake today.  It's December and I'm definitely craving those warm holiday spices!

Recipe:

Red Velvet Crackle Cookies 
Adapted from Holiday Cookies

- Makes approximately 32 cookies - 

4 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder (sifted, if very lumpy)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon red food coloring
1/2 cup granulated sugar, for coating*
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, for coating*

*You can roll the cookie dough balls only in confectioners' sugar, if you prefer.  Give it a generous coat.

Melt chocolate by setting it in a heatproof bowl on top of a pan of just simmering water.  Stir until melted.  Remove from the heat and let cool.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, and salt.  

Place butter and brown sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Cream together on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until light and creamy, scraping the bowl, as needed.  Add vanilla, then the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping the bowl again as needed.  Add the melted chocolate and food coloring, beating until evenly colored.  On low speed, add the dry ingredients until just combined.  Cover and refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour.  

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and position racks in the upper and lower thirds.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicon baking mats.  

Place granulated and confectioners' sugar into 2 small bowls.  Scoop about 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough and roll between your palms into a ball.  Roll the dough ball in granulated, then confectioners' sugar, coating it generously.  Continue, placing the rolled balls onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 2 inches apart.  Very lightly flatten the tops of the dough balls with the palm of your hand (note: I say this step is optional; I did flatten my cookies and would have liked to see how they turned out without doing it). 

Bake for 13-14 minutes, rotating the baking sheets midway, until deep cracks appear on the surface of the cookies.  Remove from the oven, let cookies sit on the baking sheets for about 5 minutes before removing them onto a wire rack to cool completely.  



20 comments:

  1. They are so beautiful and festive. I am not really fancy for food colouring, but would be more than happy to make an exception for these holiday treats.

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    1. I hear you! Enjoy the holiday just the way you like it. : )

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  2. We are kindred spirits Monica - I'm the same as you - leisurely bake holiday goodies all through the month. The idea of a giant bake off kinda makes me stressed / anxious haha I LOVE crinkle cookies and with red velvet?! Yes yes!!

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    1. Totally! I feel like it'd be such fun to have a massive bake and then pack them off for friends and have a huge stash for your own family. That's kind of fantasy because reality would be rather messy, stressful, and be full of clean up. haha! Let's do it however works best for us. Happy holidays!

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  3. Being a blogger of baked goods is kind of like cookie season all year! :) I am not a fan of red velvet (long story involving cream cheese frosting, red velvet cupcakes, and food poisoning), but I kept reading thinking that these chocolate cookies would be great even without the food coloring. And then you said the same thing! Moist, chewy, and made with brown sugar? I'm in! Enjoy your festive, leisurely,and sweet cookie baking season, Monica! :)

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    1. True, Wendy! : ) I never even tried red velvet anything until pretty recently (I think because I'm not a fan of cream cheese frosting)...but these were very tempting. Hope you are enjoying the holidays! Happy everything. : )

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  4. I'm a big fan of red velvet and really want to give these cookies a try. Keep the wonderful recipes coming!

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    1. I'm just taking it easy and trying to have fun with it. So much you *want* to make but so little time and so little room. Fantasy and reality can be rather complicated. That said, we sneak in what we can. It's fun stuff this month. Hope you are enjoying plenty of baking and family time.

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  5. These are so festive Monica. Beautiful and delicious looking. I’ve never made a red velvet crackle cookie, so these will be my first.

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    1. Hi Bal - thanks. Hope you are having a good December so far! Enjoy a few good cookies! ; )

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  6. These cookies look delicious and just perfect for Christmas!

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    1. So many wonderful goodies at Christmastime...it's the best. : )

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  7. Perfect for the afternoon sweet tooth!

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  8. Red velvet in a cookie?! Yes please! Love the crackled top you've got on these.

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    1. It's hard to resist these snowballs/snow-capped mountain looking cookies at this time of year. I have to get it out of my system! ; )

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  9. I think every Christmas cookie assortment needs a red velvet cookie, these are lovely!

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